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Joseph Eboa , Emmanuel Matateyou

Why Moon and Sun Live in Sky

YEAR: 1997

COUNTRY: Cameroon

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Title of the work

Why Moon and Sun Live in Sky

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Cameroon

Original Language

Mboo

First Edition Details

Emmanuel Matateyou, An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon, Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997, 255 pp.

Registration Files

The cover of An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon by Emmanuel Matateyou. Courtesy of  The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd.

Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Cameroon

Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey

February 17, 1993 (summarised from a book published in 1999, in which the date of the collection of the story is mentioned)

More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Melong, Littoral region, Cameroon

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Crossover

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Courage Yaah, University of Yaoundé 1, yaahcourage@yahoo.com

Katarzyna Marciniak and team members in Warsaw, University Warsaw, kamar@al.uw.edu.pl

Male portrait

Joseph Eboa (Storyteller)

Age of Narrator: 63 (in 1993)

Occupation: Teacher

Language: Mboo


Bio prepared by Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com


Emmanuel Matateyou by Rama. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr (accessed: December 15, 2021).

Emmanuel Matateyou , b. 1952
(Author, Storyteller)

Emanuel Matateyou is a writer and a professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, University of Yaoundé 1. He is a former Fulbright scholar and has published widely on oral literature and Cameroonian culture and languages. Some of his publications include: An Anthology of myths, legends and folktales from Cameroon (1997), Les Merveilleux récits de Tita Ki (2001), Parlons Bamoun (2001), Problématique d’une conciliation du réel et l’irréel (1999), Les sociétés secrètes dans la littérature camerounaise le cas des Bamoun. 2. vol. (1990). 


Bio prepared by Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com


Summary

The original published version of this myth appears in: An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon by Emmanuel Matateyou, published in 1997 (pp. 41-43) by The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd. Although we have the permission of the publisher and the author to reprint up to 10 myths in the collection for our research on “Our Mythical Childhood…”., we have chosen to summarize this particular myth. We are therefore very thankful to The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd and Professor Mataeyou for granting us this permission.


In the beginning, the Water and the Sun were very great friends. The Sun always paid visits to his friend, the Water. But the Water on his part never visited the Sun. Not even on a single occasion. But instead, the Water usually invited the Sun to meet him at a specific spot in the open air. The Sun could not just understand why the Water never visited him in his own house. He reflected over this problem for a long time: “Perhaps Water is looking down on me,” he said to himself. “But I can’t bear this any longer,” the Sun continued. He went to Water and asked him why he had never paid him a visit in his own house. He bluntly told Water that he would stop coming to Water’s house, if he (Water) failed to return his visits in his turn. Water laughed and told the Sun that he had not been paying visits to him because he was afraid that his entourage might cause a problem to the Sun’s family. But the Sun insisted that he was very capable of accommodating Water and his entourage. “Anyway, if you continue to insist, I shall come. When you are ready to receive me, please send word to me,” the Water said to his good friend, the Sun. 

The Sun returned to his house and informed his wife, the Moon, of the planned visit of Water. He and his wife set straight to work, doing all necessary preparations for Water’s unprecedented visit. Sun and his wife expanded their house, and used pure red earth in plastering the walls and painting the floor. New furniture was added to the existing ones in order to provide accommodation befitting the Water and his company. When the Sun and the Moon were satisfied with their preparations to receive Water, the Sun sent a message to Water stating the day of the visit. When the day of the visit came, the Sun and his wife were very happy to be honoured with a visit by their best friend, Water. The Sun and his wife invited some of their relatives, neighbors, and friends to the occasion. When Water arrived in the Sun’s compound, the Sun’s family and all those whom he had invited cheered and ululated in joy. Water stopped at the Sun’s door and asked him once more if he was quite prepared to receive him. “Of course! What type of question is that? You are my guest of honour,” Sun replied. Water entered into the house and was ushered to a special seat. Water’s entourage continuously flowed in until the whole house was almost filled. 

While this was going on Mr. and Mrs. Sun’s [other] guests had quietly vanished out of the house and left the Sun’s compound unnoticed. The Sun and the Moon climbed on the chairs and soon onto the bed as the level of the water rose. Water asked the remaining part of his entourage still outside to wait. He then turned to the Sun and asked him if he could tell the remaining part of his entourage outside to go back home. But shame can cause one to eat poison. The Sun was embarrassed by this kind of proposal from his quest of honour, Water. He had strongly insisted on Water paying him a visit and so did not want to appear childish to his guests. He asked Water to allow his entourage to enter into the house. Water felt that his host was quite at ease to see his house filled by his entourage. He thus ordered the remaining part of his entourage outside to enter into the house. And immediately, they started flowing into the house until the entire house, right up into the ceiling was filled with water. The Sun and the Moon climbed from the bed on which they had been perching up to the traditional bamboo shelves as the level of the water rose, and then onto the ceiling, then up to the roof and finally up to the sky, when the level of the water had risen and covered the whole house right up to the roof. Since then, the Sun and his wife, the Moon, have remained in the sky waiting for the Water to liberate their house. That is why the Sun and the Moon are in heaven.

Analysis

The organization of the cosmic order is a puzzle to humanity and myths in most cultures remain the lone panacea used in resolving this enigma. Humanity, including the Mboo people of Cameroon, wants to know why certain terrestrial and celestial bodies are where they are in the cosmic order, who positioned them and why. These questions have propelled humankind into pondering all, including why the moon and the sun live in the sky.  In the sacred records of the Mboo people of Cameroon, the answer becomes evident: cosmic disharmony. The nature of some cosmic bodies makes it difficult for a harmonious co-existence. That is why these bodies must stay apart eternally. For this reason, the moon and the sun are bound to be apart from the earth. 

Compare similar tales:

Elphinstone Dayrell, “Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky” in Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa, London - New York - Bombay - Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910, 64-65.

"Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky " in1500 Eternal Masterpieces of Fairy Tales (Atheneum  Classics), Pandora's Box, Kindle Edition. 2019, 973.


Further Reading

Matateyou, Emmanuel, An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd, 1997.

Elphinstone Dayrell, “Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky” in Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa, London - New York - Bombay - Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910, 64-65.

Addenda

Collected by Adolph Benga


"Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky” in Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa, by Elphinstone Dayrell, scan retrieved from the Internet Archive (accessed: October 10, 2021).

Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Why Moon and Sun Live in Sky

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Cameroon

Original Language

Mboo

First Edition Details

Emmanuel Matateyou, An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon, Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997, 255 pp.

Registration Files

The cover of An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon by Emmanuel Matateyou. Courtesy of  The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd.

Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Cameroon

Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey

February 17, 1993 (summarised from a book published in 1999, in which the date of the collection of the story is mentioned)

More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Melong, Littoral region, Cameroon

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Crossover

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Courage Yaah, University of Yaoundé 1, yaahcourage@yahoo.com

Katarzyna Marciniak and team members in Warsaw, University Warsaw, kamar@al.uw.edu.pl

Male portrait

Joseph Eboa (Storyteller)

Age of Narrator: 63 (in 1993)

Occupation: Teacher

Language: Mboo


Bio prepared by Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com


Emmanuel Matateyou by Rama. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr (accessed: December 15, 2021).

Emmanuel Matateyou (Author, Storyteller)

Emanuel Matateyou is a writer and a professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, University of Yaoundé 1. He is a former Fulbright scholar and has published widely on oral literature and Cameroonian culture and languages. Some of his publications include: An Anthology of myths, legends and folktales from Cameroon (1997), Les Merveilleux récits de Tita Ki (2001), Parlons Bamoun (2001), Problématique d’une conciliation du réel et l’irréel (1999), Les sociétés secrètes dans la littérature camerounaise le cas des Bamoun. 2. vol. (1990). 


Bio prepared by Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com


Summary

The original published version of this myth appears in: An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon by Emmanuel Matateyou, published in 1997 (pp. 41-43) by The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd. Although we have the permission of the publisher and the author to reprint up to 10 myths in the collection for our research on “Our Mythical Childhood…”., we have chosen to summarize this particular myth. We are therefore very thankful to The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd and Professor Mataeyou for granting us this permission.


In the beginning, the Water and the Sun were very great friends. The Sun always paid visits to his friend, the Water. But the Water on his part never visited the Sun. Not even on a single occasion. But instead, the Water usually invited the Sun to meet him at a specific spot in the open air. The Sun could not just understand why the Water never visited him in his own house. He reflected over this problem for a long time: “Perhaps Water is looking down on me,” he said to himself. “But I can’t bear this any longer,” the Sun continued. He went to Water and asked him why he had never paid him a visit in his own house. He bluntly told Water that he would stop coming to Water’s house, if he (Water) failed to return his visits in his turn. Water laughed and told the Sun that he had not been paying visits to him because he was afraid that his entourage might cause a problem to the Sun’s family. But the Sun insisted that he was very capable of accommodating Water and his entourage. “Anyway, if you continue to insist, I shall come. When you are ready to receive me, please send word to me,” the Water said to his good friend, the Sun. 

The Sun returned to his house and informed his wife, the Moon, of the planned visit of Water. He and his wife set straight to work, doing all necessary preparations for Water’s unprecedented visit. Sun and his wife expanded their house, and used pure red earth in plastering the walls and painting the floor. New furniture was added to the existing ones in order to provide accommodation befitting the Water and his company. When the Sun and the Moon were satisfied with their preparations to receive Water, the Sun sent a message to Water stating the day of the visit. When the day of the visit came, the Sun and his wife were very happy to be honoured with a visit by their best friend, Water. The Sun and his wife invited some of their relatives, neighbors, and friends to the occasion. When Water arrived in the Sun’s compound, the Sun’s family and all those whom he had invited cheered and ululated in joy. Water stopped at the Sun’s door and asked him once more if he was quite prepared to receive him. “Of course! What type of question is that? You are my guest of honour,” Sun replied. Water entered into the house and was ushered to a special seat. Water’s entourage continuously flowed in until the whole house was almost filled. 

While this was going on Mr. and Mrs. Sun’s [other] guests had quietly vanished out of the house and left the Sun’s compound unnoticed. The Sun and the Moon climbed on the chairs and soon onto the bed as the level of the water rose. Water asked the remaining part of his entourage still outside to wait. He then turned to the Sun and asked him if he could tell the remaining part of his entourage outside to go back home. But shame can cause one to eat poison. The Sun was embarrassed by this kind of proposal from his quest of honour, Water. He had strongly insisted on Water paying him a visit and so did not want to appear childish to his guests. He asked Water to allow his entourage to enter into the house. Water felt that his host was quite at ease to see his house filled by his entourage. He thus ordered the remaining part of his entourage outside to enter into the house. And immediately, they started flowing into the house until the entire house, right up into the ceiling was filled with water. The Sun and the Moon climbed from the bed on which they had been perching up to the traditional bamboo shelves as the level of the water rose, and then onto the ceiling, then up to the roof and finally up to the sky, when the level of the water had risen and covered the whole house right up to the roof. Since then, the Sun and his wife, the Moon, have remained in the sky waiting for the Water to liberate their house. That is why the Sun and the Moon are in heaven.

Analysis

The organization of the cosmic order is a puzzle to humanity and myths in most cultures remain the lone panacea used in resolving this enigma. Humanity, including the Mboo people of Cameroon, wants to know why certain terrestrial and celestial bodies are where they are in the cosmic order, who positioned them and why. These questions have propelled humankind into pondering all, including why the moon and the sun live in the sky.  In the sacred records of the Mboo people of Cameroon, the answer becomes evident: cosmic disharmony. The nature of some cosmic bodies makes it difficult for a harmonious co-existence. That is why these bodies must stay apart eternally. For this reason, the moon and the sun are bound to be apart from the earth. 

Compare similar tales:

Elphinstone Dayrell, “Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky” in Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa, London - New York - Bombay - Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910, 64-65.

"Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky " in1500 Eternal Masterpieces of Fairy Tales (Atheneum  Classics), Pandora's Box, Kindle Edition. 2019, 973.


Further Reading

Matateyou, Emmanuel, An Anthology of Myths, Legends and Folktales from Cameroon, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd, 1997.

Elphinstone Dayrell, “Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky” in Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa, London - New York - Bombay - Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910, 64-65.

Addenda

Collected by Adolph Benga


"Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky” in Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa, by Elphinstone Dayrell, scan retrieved from the Internet Archive (accessed: October 10, 2021).

Yellow cloud